Save money, keep toxic chemicals out of your home and get rid of creepy bugs!

I’m not talking just any old bug guy, you can be a super organic, environmentally aware, give the bugs a chance to not be there in the first place kind of bug guy. The types of bugs and other pests that may inhabit various spaces in our homes are often a sign of some underlying issue. It could be something as simple as poor housekeeping practices or you could be Martha Stewart on steroids and still have a pesky bug or rodent infestation.

     Here are some surprisingly simple things you can do that individually or collectively help make your home a less accommodating environment for unwanted pests:

 

1. Low hanging fruit, the easy stuff you can do so bugs and vermin have no particular reason to want to enter your home.

 You may not have time to keep your place immaculate but things like not leaving food out, keeping food off of beds and furniture and eating only at the table matter. Ideally, any accessible food should be kept in sealed glass or plastic containers. Make sure to clean shelves and drawers and under appliances. Get rid of their food and pests go off in search of greener pastures. You don’t want to give them water either so make sure to fix leaky faucets and drippy pipes.

2. Shore up the easy routes for bug and rodent access to your home.

You can’t always see them but the walls of your home are riddled with tiny pest passageways. You’ll never completely bug-proof your home but you can do a lot of good by sealing gaps, especially bigger ones that let bigger, nastier creatures in. If a pencil will slide into a crack a supple young mouse can slip through too! Be sure to inspect around all wall penetrations like dryer vents, doors and windows. Check around the foundation and also on the roof around exhaust fans and other vents. Plug any gaps or cracks with copper mesh.  You can stuff a pretty generous amount of it into the cracks with a screwdriver. Leave about ¼” space if you’re going to seal it with caulk or ½” if using foam sealant. You may want to paint the caulk.

3. Don’t be anti-social with ants….. be inhospitable!

Ants leave a scent trail for other ants to follow. You can erase it with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and boy if you could see the looks on their little faces….utter confusion! They don’t care much for mint either so you can spray a 10 to 1 mixture of water and essential peppermint oil. You could even use mouthwash in a pinch. The ants stay away and your appliances, fixtures and counter tops stay minty fresh. Cardamom and Bay Leaves also work to keep ants at bay as well as lots of other spices and extracts you may have in your pantry. Just sprinkle a bit around the point of entry and all of a sudden them ants’ ain’t so all fired up about gettin in!   Baby powder or cucumbers work well too.

4. Your homes no roach motel…..don’t let em check in!

  Good housekeeping practices like cleaning, sanitizing and proper food storage go a long way towards making your home unenticing to cockroaches.  Never store paper bags under the kitchen sink as they create perfect condos for roaches to set up house with pheromone laced fecal deposits. Use caulk and paint to reduce hiding places and screen over vents. If these efforts fail try the least toxic pesticide options first, boric acid or diatomaceous earth. Another less toxic fallback position is botanical insecticides derived from plants with natural insecticidal properties. Inexpensive and pesticide free “glue traps” are also effective. If all else fails and you need to bring in the chemical artillery, I recommend a “gel” type that’s in a tube and applied like caulk. Roaches love this stuff. They take it back to feed their young and they all promptly die.

5. Moisture bugs, nature’s slimiest and creepiest but easiest to get rid of!

   Moisture bugs hate dry. They avoid dry places in favor of moist. Your house will be less alluring to slithering pests if the ground around it is kept dry and cleared of leaves and debris. Make sure your walls and foundation are staying dry and if not, eliminate the source of moisture.  Areas around low wood like wooden window frames, door sills, siding or decking are especially important to keep free of soil, weeds, leaves, debris or any kind of water-wicking material.

 If you have a basement crawling with spiders stick a dehumidifier down there set at 40%. That along with keeping windowsills cleaned and cobwebs vigilantly knocked down will dial your spider population down to sparse.

No matter what your infestation issue….chances are there is a non-toxic, if not outright tree-hugging way to deal with it!